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Prologue

"They were lords of the city of Cuzco and all the lands under its authority, including a thousand
leagues extending from the Maule River in Chile up to that place where the city of Quito lies.
They controlled and ruled it all until the Marquis Don Francisco Pizarro conquered it and put it
under the yoke..."

Juan De Betanzos - Narrative of the Incas (1557)

1492 to 1522 - Pre-conquest


1492 – The discovery of the Americas
After a thirty-three day voyage across the Atlantic Ocean, Christopher
Columbus discovered the Americas. Although his original aim had been
to find a passage westwards to the riches of Asia, to facilitate spice
trading, Columbus was undaunted by his discovery of simple, naked
natives.

"I found many islands inhabited by men without number, of all which I
took possession for our most fortunate king, with proclaiming heralds
and flying standards, no one objecting".

Columbus was convinced that he had actually landed in Asia and called
the natives "Indians", a misnomer that has persisted until today.

1513 The discovery of the Pacific Ocean


Spanish explorers led by Vasco Núñez de Balboa discovered the Pacific Ocean at Panama.
The expedition included a thirty-five year old captain named Francisco Pizarro. Some years
later, Pizarro was to obey orders from the Governor of Panama and arrest Balboa to face trial
and eventual execution for sedition.

1519 The conquest of Mexico


Hernán Cortés and his expedition of 500 men discovered the Aztec Empire in Mexico. The
discovery of such a mighty empire amazed the Spanish chroniclers: "When we saw so many
cities and villages built in the water and other great towns on dry land... we were amazed and
said that it was like the enchanted houses described in the legend of Amadis... we saw things
never before heard of or seen or even dreamed!"

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The Spaniards' amazement did not stop them conquering the Aztec Empire and looting its
treasures. After such a mighty conquest, for Mexico was a large as Spain itself, anything
became possible in the Indies and exploration began in earnest for further rich civilisations.

1522 The search for Perú begins


Pascual de Andagoya sailed along the coast of Colombia and up the
San Juan river in search of a tribe called Virú or Birú (later altered to
Perú). He was unsuccessful and sold his ships to three partners:
- Francisco Pizarro a citizen of Panama and experienced soldier
- Diego de Almagro a citizen of Panama
- Hernando de Luque – priest and agent for the group's financial
backer, Judge Gaspar de Espinosa.

Francisco Pizarro and Diego de Almagro were to become key figures


in the conquest of Peru and the subsequent civil wars.

1524 to 1528 - First contact


1524 The first expedition
Pizarro and Almagro set sail on their first expedition from Panama with
80 men and 4 horses. The expedition was unsuccesful, soon becoming
involved in a skirmish with natives during which Almagro lost an eye.
After reaching a place they named Port of Hunger, for obvious reasons,
the expedition returned to Panama.

1526 The second expedition


Pizarro and Almagro set sail on their second expedition from Panama
with 160 men and a few horses. Crossing the equator for the first time in
the Pacific, they encountered and captured an Inca balsa raft fitted with fine cotton sails. "They
were carrying many pieces of silver and gold including crowns and diadems, belts and bracelets
clothing coloured with cochineal, crimson, blue and yellow emeralds and chalcedonies and
other jewels" Three men were captured from the raft and retained to be trained as interpreters
for the Spanish.

1527 The "thirteen of glory"

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Pizarro moved his expedition south to explore the coast of Ecuador, but disease and the lack of
food caused the death of many of the Spanish. Those
remaining alive secretly appealed to the Governor of Panama
to save them from Pizarro "the slaughterer". Incensed by this,
Pizarro drew a line in the sand with his sword and famously
declared:

"Comrades and friends, there lies the part that represents


death, hardship, hunger this side represents comfort. Here you
return to Panama to be poor; there, you may go forward to
Peru to be rich. Choose which best becomes you as good
Spaniards!"

Only twelve men crossed the line to join Pizarro and together they became the "thirteen of
glory".

1528 The Inca city of Tumbez


Pizarro and his twelve companions sailed further south into the Gulf of Guayaquil and
discovered the Inca city of Tumbez. Here at last, in the form of a well-ordered town, was
evidence of the advanced civilization for which they searched. An Inca noble visited the ship
and one of the Spaniards elected to stay behind in the city.

Reports of these white strangers with "beards and a ferocious appearance" were sent to the
ruling Inca, Huayna-Capac. "These men were so bold that they did not fear dangerous things;
they were stuffed into their clothes, which covered them from head to foot... the strangers
traveled across the sea in large wooden houses".

After Tumbez, the expedition continued south and discovered two more Inca cities before
returning to Panama. Unable to arouse the enthusiasm of the Governor with the potential for
conquest, Pizarro sailed back to Spain to seek royal approval from King Charles.

1529 to 1532 - Royal approval


1529 – Pizarro seeks royal approval in Spain
Arriving in Spain, Pizarro "passed before the King's eyes all the
length of Peru, the quality of the land and its great treasures". The
recent success and return of Cortés from Mexico helped Pizarro to
recruit ambitious, young, would-be conquerors for a third expedition.
King Charles authorised Pizarro to discover and conquer Peru and
named him "Governor and Captain-General of Peru".

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The King also appointed Almagro to be "Commandant of Tumbez" . When Pizarro returned to
Panama with the news, Almagro was angered by such a meager appointment and was only
persuaded to continue with the expedition by promises of the governorship of territories beyond
Peru.

1530 The third expedition


Pizarro and Almagro set sail on their third expedition from Panama with 180 men and 37
horses. Included in the expedition were three Pizarro's younger half-brothers: Hernando, Juan
and Gonzalo.

1531 The Inca City of Tumbez found destroyed


Advancing overland from the north coast of Ecuador, Pizarro and his
men arrived in Tumbez to find the city destroyed and no sign of the
Spaniard who had stayed behind in 1528. Natives informed the
Spanish that the city had been destroyed as the result of a recent civil
war within the Inca Empire.

Unknown to the Spanish, an epidemic of smallpox had swept across


the Inca Empire since their arrival at Tumbez in 1528. Lacking any
immunity to the disease, many thousands of Indians died including the
ruling Inca, Huayna-Capac, and his natural heir, Ninan Cuyuchi. With
no clear heir to the Empire, civil war soon ensued between two of the
Inca's sons: Huascar in charge of the capital at Cuzco and Atahualpa
in charge of the royal army at Quito.

1532 The conquest begins


Reinforcements from Panama arrived to join Pizarro, including the seasoned conquerors
Sebastián de Benalcázar and Hernando de Soto. The Spanish established their first settlement,
San Miguel de Piura, about 120 miles south from the ruins of Tumbez.

On the 24 September 1532, after months of hesitation, Pizarro finally started his march
southwards into the heart of the Inca Empire, accompanied by just 168 men and 62 horses.

1532 - An audience with the Inca


Quitas pumarangra

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As the Spanish began their march south from San Miguel, Atahualpa was camped at Cajamarca
awaiting the news from his leading general, Quisquis, on a decisive battle with his brother
Huascar's opposing forces at Cuzco.

The Spanish forces ascended from the coastal planes into the high Andes, troubled by the
many Inca forts and watchtowers they encountered. In Cajamarca, Atahualpa's council
discussed destroying the invaders immediately but decided it was "folly to be concerned over
170 men" and agreed to have them seized upon their arrival in Cajamarca. Opinion was divided
over whether the Spaniards were viracochas ("gods") or quitas pumarangra ("leaderless people
wandering about and thieving").

Arrival in Cajamarca
On 15 November 1532, the Spanish expedition emerged from the
mountains to find the lush, green valley of Cajamarca spread before
them. Atahualpa was by now aware that his forces had been victorious
at Cuzco and that the entire Inca Empire was firmly in his grasp. His
army was camped in full splendour across the fields beyond the town of
Cajamarca. "The Indians' camp looked like a very beautiful city...
Nothing like this had been seen in the Indies up to then. It filled all us
Spaniards with fear and confusion."

The Spaniards descended into the valley and entered the main square
of Cajamarca, a huge open area bordered on three sides by long, low
buildings, each approximately 200 metres in length. Pizarro sent some
15 horsemen to visit the Inca's camp and to converse with him. Shortly
afterwards, fearing that this small force could be destroyed, he sent
another 20 horsemen with his brother, Hernando Pizarro.

The Inca's camp was stationed several miles outside of the city and the
Spanish contingents were required to march through silent ranks of Indian warriors and chiefs.
Arriving finally at the Inca's pleasure house they found Atahualpa sitting on a small stool,
surrounded by his women and chief officers.

An audience with the Inca


Hernando Pizarro talked briefly with the Inca, using one of the interpreters captured by
Francisco Pizarro's second expedition. Atahualpa accused the Spanish of mistreating the
Indians near Tumbez but invited them to dine with him and stay at his residence overnight.
Hernando refused to stay but received assurances from the Inca that he would go to Cajamarca
the following day to meet Francisco Pizarro.

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Before leaving the Inca's residence, Hernando de Soto brought forward a small, spirited horse
that had been trained to rear up and wheel around. The Inca was much impressed with the
demonstration that followed but "one squadron of troops drew back when they saw the horse
coming towards them. Those who did this paid for it that night with their lives, for Atahualpa
ordered them to be killed because they had shown fear."

Back in Cajamarca, the frightened and desperate Spanish considered their position: they were
isolated from reinforcements by many days of difficult marching and were situated in the midst
of a victorious royal army with an estimated 80,000 warriors. As the Spanish sheltered in the
buildings around the main square and kept sentry duty, the campfires of the Indian army
surrounded them "like a brilliantly star-studded sky".

1532 - The conquest begins


Atahualpa approaches Cajamarca
The Spanish had spent the previous night considering their limited options. They could use the
element of surprise and attack the natives first or they could emulate Cortés' success in Mexico
of kidnapping the head of state. They could try to exploit the tensions of civil war in the empire
or they could attempt to maintain the illusion of friendship and hope for more favourable
circumstances in the future.

At midday, Atahualpa's army began to move - "the entire plain was full of men, rearranging
themselves at every step, waiting for the Inca to emerge." The Spanish, concealed in the
buildings surrounding the main square, waited anxiously as a series of messages were
exchanged. Atahualpa started to pitch his tents just half a mile away from the town but the
Spanish, fearful of a night attack, impressed upon the Inca the urgency of him coming to meet
Pizarro in Cajamarca.

Atahualpa finally agreed and, leaving behind most of his warriors, entered the town square with
"five or six thousand men, unarmed except that they carried small battle-axes, slings and
pouches of stones". The Inca approached "in a very fine litter with the ends of its timbers
covered in silver... eighty lords carried him on their shoulders, all wearing a rich blue livery. [The
Inca] was very richly dressed, with his crown on his head and a collar of large emeralds around
his neck". The Inca halted in the middle of the square, surrounded by his leading commanders
and chiefs.

Confrontation
Friar Vicente de Valverde and Martin, the interpreter, emerged to talk
with Atahualpa. The friar began to deliver the famous Requirement, a
self-justifying speech that was proclaimed in any conquest before

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resorting to violence. The Inca expressed interest in the friar's Bible but became angry when he
was unable to open it. Finally opening it, he admired the form and layout before angrily throwing
it to the ground.

Atahualpa rose in his litter, telling his men to make ready. The Spanish launched their ambush
by firing cannons into the crowd and then unleashing a charge of cavalry from their hiding
places in the buildings around the square.

The booming cannons, the trumpets, the battle cries of "Santiago!" and the onslaught on horses
had a devastating effect on the Indians. They were "thrown into confusion and panicked. The
Spaniards fell upon them and began to kill." "[The Indians] were filled with so much fear that
they climbed on top of one another - to such an extent that they formed mounds and suffocated
one another".

Atahualpa captured
Francisco Pizarro focused his attention on capturing the Inca from his litter. "All those who were
carrying Atahualpa's litter appeared to be important men, and they all died..." "Many Indians had
their hands cut off but continued to support their ruler's litter with their shoulders. But their
efforts were of little avail for they were all killed." "Those who were carrying the litter and those
who escorted the Inca never abandoned him: all died around him".

The Spanish succeeded in capturing Atahualpa and escorted him under heavy guard to the
Temple of the Sun. Meanwhile, the Indians trying to flee the carnage in the square "broke down
a fifteen-foot stretch of wall six feet thick". The cavalry followed the Indians into the surrounding
fields. "All were shouting, 'After those with the liveries!', 'Do not let any escape!', 'Spear them!'"
The Inca's army, standing just a mile away on the plain, was ready for battle but did not make a
move against the Spanish.

"Night had already fallen and the horsemen were continuing to lance natives in the fields, when
they sounded a trumpet for us to reassemble at the camp. On arrival we went to congratulate
the Governor [Pizarro] on the victory".

"In the space of two hours - all that remained of daylight - all those troops were annihilated...
that day, six or seven thousand Indians lay dead on the plain and many more had their arms cut
off and other wounds." "During all this no Indian raised a weapon against
a Spaniard".

1532 - A ransom fit for a king


A captive Inca
With the bodies of several thousand dead Indians being cleared from the

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square, Atahualpa was dressed in fresh clothing, served a meal at Pizarro's table and then
given a bed in the same room where Pizarro was sleeping. The Spanish calmed Atahualpa's
fears of immediate execution by explaining that "Christians killed with impetuosity but not
afterwards".

Pizarro allowed Atahualpa to speak with some of his leading commanders taken in the battle.
They confirmed the devastation of his army and took word to the remaining troops that they
should obey Spanish as the Inca was in their power.

Some of the Spanish were of the opinion that "all the fighting [natives] should be killed or have
their hands cut off" but Pizarro would not consent to such cruelty. In conjunction with Atahualpa,
he ordered the native troops to return to their homes so that only twelve thousand Indians
remained around Cajamarca.

Atahualpa's ransom
Meanwhile, Atahualpa observed the Spanish lust for gold as they plundered the Inca's camp.
Unable to conceive that these 160 men were the spearhead of a full-scale invasion and
encouraged by Pizarro's words that "the fighting men were seeking nothing more than gold",
Atahualpa offered his famous ransom:

"Atahualpa said that he would give a room full of gold. The room measured 22 feet long by 17
feet wide (6.7m x 5.2m) and was to be filled to a white line half way up its height (about 2.5m)...
he would fill the room with various objects of gold... he would also give the entire hut filled twice
over with silver. And he would complete this within two months".

Pizarro summoned his secretary to formally record the pledge from the Inca and settled down to
wait for the arrival of the gold from Peru and reinforcements from San Miguel. Atahualpa's
willing collaboration with the Spanish ensured their security and lent them an air of authority with
the Indians.

Death of Huascar
Meanwhile, Atahualpa's captive brother, Huascar, was en route from
Cuzco and due to arrive at Cajamarca within a few days. Atahualpa was
still obsessed with the civil war and feared the presence of his rival in
Cajamarca. Instead of having Huascar released to form a national
resistance against the invaders, Atahualpa had him killed by his escorts.
In the coming weeks other members of the Inca family were also killed
on Atahualpa's orders, removing a threat to his authority but eliminating
potential resistance leaders and generating further strife amongst the

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Indian factions.

By the end of December, gold began to arrive in Cajamarca but the impatient, greedy
conquistadors began what was to become a familiar scene in the coming years: the harassment
and abuse of a member of the Inca family in order to obtain yet more gold and treasure.
1533 - The search for treasure
Expeditions to Pachacamac and Cuzco
Atahualpa believed that the Spanish would leave Peru as soon as the
ransom had been paid. He therefore suggested to Pizarro that some
conquistadors should be sent to oversee the collection of gold and
other treasures from Cuzco and Pachacamac. These were easy
sources of gold for Atahualpa to offer up: Cuzco had been the centre of
his brother Huascar's forces and Atahualpa had already decided that
the capital of the Inca Empire would be moved from Cuzco to Quito.
The shrine of Pachacamac, south of modern Lima, had fallen from
favour following several recent disastrous predications - in particular, it
had advised Atahualpa to make war on the Spanish, saying he would
defeat and kill them.

Hernando Pizarro left Cajamarca with a small contingent of men and


spent fifteen wondrous days riding through the mountains and coastal plains. They were
impressed by the numerous suspension bridges, Inca roads, storehouses, terraces and well-
ordered towns encountered on their way. However, on reaching Pachacamac they discovered
that the priests had hidden most of the treasure. Hernando Pizarro stormed the inner sanctuary
of the shrine and tortured some of the priests but a month of searching revealed no treasure.

Meanwhile in Cajamarca, a steady stream of gold and silver had been arriving but the promise
of Cuzco's vast treasure trove lured three men to volunteer for an expedition deep into the heart
of the hostile Inca Empire. Atahualpa's leading general, Quisquis, gave the three Spaniards a
cool reception in Cuzco, telling them that "if they refused to release the cacique [Inca] he himself
would go to rescue him". The Spaniards defiled the holy temples and sanctuaries of Cuzco,
prized seven hundred plates of gold from the Temple of the Sun and looted many treasures
from the Inca mummies. The enraged Indians watched helplessly, knowing that co-operation
was necessary to save Atahualpa's life.

The Inca's Generals


Three of Atahualpa's leading generals were still at large in Peru with
their armies during this time: Chalcuchima was in Jauja with 35,000
warriors, Quisquis was holding Cuzco with 30,000 warriors, and
Rumiñavi was situated north of Cajamarca with yet another large army.

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These three generals were revered and feared throughout the empire owing to their recent
triumphs over Huascar's armies. Each of these generals and their armies posed a serious threat
to the safety of the Spanish.

Hernando Pizarro, returning from Pachacamac, tricked the general Chalcuchima into returning
with him to Atahualpa in Cajamarca. Immediately upon arrival, the Spanish imprisoned
Chalcuchima and, believing he had hidden vast quantities of gold, tortured and burned him.

Distribution of Atahualpa's ransom


By the middle of 1533, the entire ransom of silver and gold had been delivered to the Spanish in
Cajamarca. The many precious and finely worked objects were melted down over a four-month
period to produce some 6 tons of gold and 12 tons of silver. Hernando Pizarro was sent back to
Spain with some treasure for the King as part-payment of the "royal fifth", the royal tax paid
upon all treasure captured during the conquest. The original conquistadors all received a share
equivalent to his position in the conquest: each horseman received 40kg of gold and 81kg of
silver whilst foot-soldiers received half this amount.

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1533 - Death of Atahualpa
Expediency
Diego de Almagro had recently arrived in Cajamarca with 153 men as reinforcements
and Atahualpa finally began to realise that the conquistadors were not going home. The
Spaniards were highly suspicious that the general Rumiñavi and his army might attempt
a rescue of the Inca, so they put a chain around Atahualpa's neck.

A moral debate about the Inca's fate now erupted amongst the Spanish: some believed
that the ransom bargain should be honoured whilst many feared for their continued
safety if Atahualpa was alive. Almagro's recent arrivals were not entitled to any share of
the ransom payment and Atahualpa's death would ensure their share of any future
treasure. Meanwhile, the royal treasurer informed Francisco Pizarro that if the ransom
treasure was lost because he did not kill Atahualpa, then the remaining "royal fifth"
would be collected from Pizarro's personal assets.

Pizarro wavered between the two extremes: honour the ransom or execute the Inca. He
praised a young Spaniard for dissuading him from harming the Inca but then reacted
strongly when an Indian arrived with reports of a vast horde of troops under the general
Rumiñavi advancing towards Cajamarca. Following an emergency meeting of the
Spanish, it was decided that "Atahualpa must die since he had broken the peace...".

Execution
Despite the legalistic nature of the Spaniards, there was no trial -
just a panic decision that was followed through with immediate
action. As night was falling on 26 July 1533, Atahualpa was
"brought out of his prison and led to the middle of the square...
and tied to a stake..." "He commended his sons to the Governor
don Francisco Pizarro... with great weeping, indicating their size
with his hand..."

Atahualpa was summarily garroted and, despite promises to the


contrary from the Spanish, his body partly burned. The burning of
his body and the subsequent ceremonial, hypocritical Christian
burial were intended to prevent the Indians from mummifying and
venerating the Inca's corpse in the traditional manner.

A reconnaissance party sent out to search for Rumiñavi's rumored army now returned,
bringing news that "they found no fighting man, nor any with arms but everyone was at
peace..." Atahualpa had died on false charges, denied of a fair trial and executed in a
squalid fashion. The King of Spain later conferred his official disapproval of the events
by writing: "...we have been displeased by the death of Atahualpa, since he was a
monarch, and particularly as it was done in the name of justice..."

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The Inca was buried to great lamentations from his people. His sisters and wives said
"that the tomb must be made much larger: for it was the custom when the chief lord died
for all who loved him to be buried alive with him".

"When Atahualpa died, all the Indians gathered there in Cajamarca returned to their
lands, and the roads were full of them as if they were rows of ants".

1533 - The road to Cuzco


Tupac Huallpa crowned as Inca
With Atahualpa now dead, Pizarro and Almagro decided to march
further into the Inca Empire and to seize the city of Cuzco with all its
treasures.

Anxious to arrive in Cuzco as liberators and unwilling to take


responsibility himself for the administration of the vast empire, Pizarro
sought for a legitimate successor on Huascar's side of the family. Tupac
Huallpa, Huascar's younger brother, was thus crowned with much pomp
and ceremony and awarded the "royal fringe" designating him as Inca.
Many of the native Indians rejoiced in what they saw as a restoration of
the royal house and the Spanish were content to have a puppet-Inca to
legitimize their actions. Unfortunately for the Spanish, Tupac Huallpa
was to die of illness en route to Cuzco.

Indian resistance
The Spanish left Cajamarca on August 11, 1533 and travelled along
the main royal highway through the Andes. The first half of their
journey, as far as Cajatambo, was uneventful and the conquistadors
had opportunity to admire the well organized and administrated
empire. At Jauja, the Spanish encountered the remains of
Chalcuchima's army and quickly routed them, killing many. The
survivors retreated to join Quisquis in Cuzco, burning storehouses and
suspension bridges en route.

The conquistadors split up into several groups - some used their


horses to pursue the retreating army whilst others advanced more slowly on foot. With the
Spanish split up in this manner, the army retreating to Cuzco were able engage them in hand-
to-hand fighting and killed many of the conquistadors. However, the Indians continued to retreat
to Cuzco and missed pressing home their opportunity to destroy the advancing Spaniards.

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Manco Inca
The puppet-Inca, Tupac Huallpa, had died en route from an illness and Pizarro was unsure
whom to appoint as a successor. Peru was recovering from a bitter civil war and seethed with
plots to appoint various lords and generals as Inca. However, before arriving at Cuzco, Pizarro
encountered an important lord and direct son of the previous Inca Huayna-Capac: his name was
Manco Inca.

Pizarro assured Manco Inca that "...I have come from Jauja for no other reason than... to free
you from slavery to the men of Quito. Knowing the injuries they were doing to you, I wanted to
come and put a stop to them... and to liberate the people of Cuzco from this tyranny".

Spanish fighting superiority


The importance of the Spaniards' horses was now apparent to the
defending Indians. A mounted conquistador could ride faster than an
Indian messenger could run, the advantage of height allowed him to
strike down on his enemy and the horses were more maneuverable and
less easily exhausted than a foot solider. The Indians "thought more of
killing one of these animals [horses] that persecuted them so than they
did of killing ten men..." The Indians had only simple clubs and maces to
fight against the mounted Spaniards with their lances and swords, and
the mountainous Andes did not provide enough suitable wood for pikes
and arrows. The Spanish tactics of charging straight into the enemy time
after time was remarkably brave and devastatingly effect.

The conquistadors and the Indians, under the general Quisquis, clashed again violently just
outside Cuzco. The Spaniards were forced to retreat and, having never seen them do this
before, the Indians suspected a trick and refrained from pursuing them. After a tense night
camped close to Quisquis's army, the Spaniards awoke to find the Indians had vanished,
presumably to return to their homelands far north of Cajamarca. The road to Cuzco was clear.

1533 - The city of Cuzco


Entry into Cuzco
On November 15, 1533, Francisco Pizarro and Manco Inca led the
victorious conquistadors into Cuzco. For Pizarro, this represented
their ultimate goal - the occupation of the capital city. For Manco,
this represented a homecoming after months of hiding from
Atahualpa's forces. The alliance was mutually beneficial.

Writing to King Charles, the Spaniards described the city as "the

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greatest and the finest ever seen in this country or anywhere in the Indies. We can
assure Your Majesty that it is so beautiful and has such fine buildings that it would be
remarkable even in Spain". Many of the fine stone walls and palaces the conquistadors
encountered survive to this day, whilst the Spanish buildings and churches have
succumbed to earthquakes.

The Spanish installed themselves in the palaces and temples surrounding the main
square. Fearing an attack by the general Quisquis, a guard of horses and men was kept
ready in the main square for over a month.

Manco crowned as Inca


Pizarro appointed Manco as ruler and encouraged him to organize
an army to pursue and destroy Quisquis's army. An unsuccessful
expedition followed, with 5,000 native warriors and 50 Spanish
horsemen being repulsed by Quisquis's retreating army.

Returning to Cuzco, Manco was crowned Inca amongst yet more


Spanish pomp and ceremony. Friar Vicente de Valverde took the
opportunity to deliver the infamous Requirement. This obliged the
Indians to acknowledge the Church and the Pope and to accept
the King of Spain as their ruler. It also obliged them to allow the
Christian faith to be preached. Non-compliance would result in the
Spanish launching an immediate attack that "would do all the harm
and damage that we can..." "And we protest that the deaths and
losses which shall result from this are your fault..."

The looting of Cuzco


The conquistadors then proceeded to calmly loot the city and its temples. The three
Spaniards who visited Cuzco earlier in the year had been kept from seeing much of the
city. The Spanish now discovered many beautiful and carefully crafted objects of art,
made from gold and silver. An artificial garden of golden plants, insects, butterflies and
birds was seized and summarily melted down. "Some of them immediately began to
dismantle the walls of the temple, which were of gold and silver; others to disinter the
jewels and gold vases that were with the dead..."

The Indians were dismayed at the seizure and melting of a golden effigy representing
their first Inca, Manco Capac. In the most sacred Temple of the Sun, Spaniards ignored
the high priests and seized much gold and treasure. The most famous golden image of
the sun, Punchao, was hidden by the Indians "so well that it could never be found".

"When all the gold and silver they could find was brought, the marquis [Pizarro]...

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separated the royal fifth... divided and distributed the rest of the treasure among his
men..."

1534 - The battles for Jauja and Quito


The battle of Jauja
Quisquis and his army of some 7,000 natives were retreating
northwards along the royal road to their homelands in Quito. They
soon discovered that a small contingent of Spaniards (some 80 men
and 36 horses) was guarding a large portion of Atahualpa's ransom at
nearby Jauja and planned a pincer movement attack.

Unfortunately, the timing of the attack went wrong and native


collaborators betrayed the Indians' plans to the Spanish. A fierce battle
on the banks of the river Mantaro ensued, with the conquistadors
supported by 2,000 local friendly natives. Ultimately, the Spanish
horsemen and fighting superiority won the day and Quisquis's army
was forced to retreat to the safety of a nearby hill fort.

Three weeks passed before reinforcements arrived from Cuzco but they were unable to drive
Quisquis out of his mountain fortress. Further reinforcements arrived several weeks later, by
which time Quisquis had abandoned his fortress and was heading north again. The Spanish
pursued the retreating army but, suffering heavy losses in a number of engagements, soon
returned to Jauja when it became apparent that Quisquis was leaving Peru for Quito.

Unauthorised invasions of Quito


Pizarro's royal approval from King Charles in 1529 had granted him
dominion of territories south of Tumbez. Rumours were now reaching
the Spanish concerning vast treasures and wealth hidden in Quito, north
of Tumbez, an area governed by one of Atahualpa's generals, Rumiñavi.

The rumours soon reached one Pedro de Alvarado in Guatemala, a


seasoned conquistador from Mexico and Central America. He set sail
with over 500 men and 119 horses, supported by 4,000 Guatemalan Indians, landed in Ecuador
and proceeded overland towards Quito.

News of this unauthorised invasion soon reached one of Pizarro's most trusted officers,
Sebastián de Benalcázar, in the port of San Miguel near Tumbez. Benalcázar had been
entrusted to accompany a portion of Atahualpa's ransom to the port of San Miguel and had then
remained there, awaiting orders from Pizarro. However, on hearing of Alvarado's expedition,
Benalcázar set out with 200 men and 62 horses and marched towards Quito.

The Quitan armies, under the generals Rumiñavi and Zope-Zopahua, were now faced with two

15
unauthorised and competing invasions of their homeland. They had everything to fight for and,
with no Inca held hostage by the Spanish, nothing to lose.

1534 - The Quitan campaign


The Quitan campaign
The first major confrontation was between Benalcázar's and Rumiñavi's
men on a mountain pass some 4,250 metres high. The wide, open
battlefield favoured the mounted Spaniards who "attacked fiercely,
trampling the Indians under their horses and causing great bloodshed
with their lances... terrible bravery and fury were shown by either side.
The Indians rallied to a cry that this was the moment to preserve or lose
their liberty...". The battle was indecisive, with heavy losses on both
sides, and Benalcázar's forces pushed on towards Quito, battling almost
continuously with the natives.

Despite the fierce and spirited attacks from Rumiñavi's armies,


Benalcázar's forces reached Quito on 22 June 1534. They were
disappointed to find that Quito had been systematically evacuated and burnt, and that Rumiñavi
has escaped with the city's treasure. Pizarro's partner, Diego de Almagro, now arrived in Quito
from Cuzco and, despite being relieved to find that Benalcázar was still loyal to Pizarro and
himself, reprimanded him for having left Quito without express orders.

Alvarado's alternative invasion, marching inwards from the Ecuadorian coast, had encountered
great hardships en route, losing 85 men, most of its horses and many of its supporting 4,000
Guatemalan Indians. They were dismayed to find, on arrival at Quito, that Almagro and
Benalcázar had already passed through in pursuit of Rumiñavi and the city's treasure.

Alvarado's expedition soon caught up with and confronted Almagro and Benalcázar 's forces.
Alvarado's forces had superior numbers and, having just survived great hardships on their
expedition, were desperate for plunder and rewards. Both forces began preparing for a battle
that would have been evenly matched and left the significantly weakened survivors to face a
native counterattack.

In the end, the battle was avoided and an agreement was reached whereby Almagro agreed to
buy Alvarado's ships and equipment and Alvarado was to return to Guatemala. Almagro and
Alvarado began to march back towards Peru whilst Benalcázar remained in Quito with some
500 men.

Quisquis and Rumiñavi


Meanwhile, Quisquis and his army of some 16,000 natives had retreated

16
northwards through Peru and were entering southern Ecuador. News of their approach reached
Almagro and Alvarado, who immediately launched a surprise attack. Despite not expecting to
encounter such a large Spanish force in their homeland, Quisquis's army fought fiercely with the
Spanish and used the steep hillsides to avoid the slaughter of a cavalry charge. The Spanish
suffered very heavy losses and Quisquis's forces were able to escape.

It now became apparent to Quisquis and his commanders that the Spanish already occupied
their homeland and that they had nowhere left to retreat to. The commanders "told Quisquis to
ask the Spaniards for peace since they were invincible". Quisquis refused and rebuked them for
their cowardice, ordering them to continue the defence of their country. Quisquis's leading
commander, Huaypalcon, then "struck him on the chest with his lance. Many others immediately
ran up with clubs and battleaxes and killed him. Thus ended Quisquis and his battles, he who
had been so celebrated a commander among the orejones..."

Meanwhile, Rumiñavi's forces had been battling unsuccessfully against the Spanish and
Rumiñavi was forced to flee into hiding. A native Indian betrayed his hiding place to Benalcázar
who sent some horsemen to capture him. Rumiñavi evaded them and escaped over a snow-
covered mountain but, once again, was betrayed by a native spy. This time, the Spanish were
successful in capturing him and, after the customary and futile tortures in search for mythical
treasure, executed him in the city square of Quito.

Rumiñavi was the last of Atahualpa's generals and the most determined resistance leader
against the Spanish. With his death, any chance of resistance from Atahualpa's faction was
finally extinguished.

1535 - Collaboration and Provocation


Manco as puppet-Inca
The start of 1535 found Manco ruling Peru in a careful co-existence with
the Spanish. He was grateful and loyal to them for having placed him on
the throne and having extinguished the rival forces of Atahualpa. For
their part, the Spanish preferred to deal with a puppet-Inca rather than to
handle the administration of the vast empire themselves. The
conquistadors continued to maintain a restrained behaviour towards the
Indians, being warned by Pizarro that "if the natives are molested by
being asked for gold and silver they might rebel. This must be avoided
now and until there are more Spaniards."

Manco began to establish himself as the new Inca ruler, building the
customary palace in Cuzco and presiding over the religious ceremonies.
He tried to re-establish his authority and prestige amongst the numerous tribes that formed his
empire. However the recent civil war, between Huascar and Atahualpa, and the Spanish
conquest had caused irreparable damage and many tribes sought for an opportunity to re-

17
establish local rule. In Cuzco itself, Manco found himself surrounded by relatives and native
leaders of dubious loyalty.

Foundation of Lima
Pizarro had been observing the native porters struggling to carry supplies over the mountains to
Cuzco, and determined to move the capital of Peru to the coast. A new city named Ciudad de
los Reyes was founded at the mouth of the river Rimac and Pizarro took up residence there with
a portion of the conquistadors. The city's original name survived only a short time before
reverting to a corruption of the river's name: Lima.

The Chilean expedition


Early in 1535, news arrived from Spain that Charles V had awarded the
northern part of the Inca Empire to Pizarro and the southern part to
Almagro. The exact details were due to arrive later in the year but in the
meantime, a row broke out about whose jurisdiction Cuzco fell into.
Tensions rose between rival factions in Cuzco and fighting nearly broke
out amongst the Spaniards. In the end, Pizarro negotiated an agreement
whereby Almagro, with financial support from Pizarro, would lead an
expedition to explore Chile and, hopefully, find sufficient treasure to
satisfy his greed.

Manco sent his trusted brother, Paullu, and his chief priest, Villac Umu,
with 12,000 natives to support Almagro's expedition. Great hardships
and cruelties ensued. The Spanish horsemen attacked and looted the villages, forcing the
natives to act as porters under the most brutal conditions. It was not long before the natives of
Chile were in revolt against the Spanish and ambushed them, with limited success. Eventually,
Villac Umu and all the natives from Cuzco fled, leaving the Spaniards "with no one to fetch them
even a pot of water".

Provocation
With the arrival of yet more Spaniards in Cuzco, the conquistadors were
becoming more bold and aggressive in their abuse of the natives,
particularly Manco. "The Spaniards were not content with the service of
the natives but tried to rob them in every town". Pizarro's younger
brother, Gonzalo, developed a passion for Curo Ocllo, the wife of
Manco, and demanded that she be handed over. Manco responded with
gifts of treasure and tried to deceive Gonzalo by presenting one of his

18
sisters dressed up as his wife. This was all to no avail, for Manco himself later wrote that
"Gonzalo Pizarro took my wife and still has her".

Manco was further threatened with violence by the conquistadors, who looted his palace with
impunity one night. Pizarro took no action against this and the Spanish soon began to drop any
pretence of respect for the puppet-Inca. Relations deteriorated, especially when Villac Umu
returned from Chile with details of the Spanish cruelties there.

Manco organised a secret meeting of his leading native chiefs but was caught en route.
Gonzalo Pizarro imprisoned the Inca, who was further abused by the Spaniards. "They threw a
chain around his neck and irons on his feet". "They treated him very, very disgracefully,
urinating on him and sleeping with his wives, and he was deeply distressed". "[They] spat in his
face, struck and beat him, called him a dog, kept him with a chain round his neck in a public
place where people passed". Manco's native leaders began revolts in three different parts of the
country, killing a number of conquistadors. Reprisals, however, were swift and brutal.

1536 - The Great Rebellion


The rebellion begins
In January 1536, Hernando Pizarro returned to Cuzco from two years absence in Spain. He
immediately set out to befriend Manco and began to treat him more favourably than his brothers
Gonzalo and Juan. Hernando was partly responding to orders from Charles V to give due
respect to the hereditary monarchs in Peru. Manco was released from his captivity and relations
seemed to improve for a number of months.

In April, Manco requested permission from Hernando to leave Cuzco in


order to perform some religious ceremonies in the hills. He also offered
to bring back a life-sized golden statue and Hernando gave permission
for Manco and Villac Umu to leave. This caused immediate concern
and apprehension in Cuzco but Hernando insisted on his complete
confidence in the Inca.

The truth was that Manco had spent the preceding months secretly
and successfully planning a great rebellion throughout the whole of the
Inca Empire. This was a major achievement, given the destruction of
communication lines and the dubious loyalties of many of the Indian
chiefs. Manco had also secretly arranged for the manufacture of arms
and the sowing of crops to support his armies for many months.

Over the next few weeks, a force of 150,000 native warriors arrived from all corners of the
empire and took up positions in the hills surrounding Cuzco. The Indians were by now only too
aware of the dreadful slaughter that the Spanish calvary could cause on a level plain and thus

19
kept to the higher ground. Despite advice from Villac Umu and his chief generals to the contrary,
Manco determined to wait for his entire force to assemble before launching an attack.

Cuzco was defended by a mere 190 men and 80 horses, the remaining conquistadors being
situated in Lima and Jauja. They watched apprehensively as the natives continued to arrive and
surround the town: "by day they looked like a black carpet covering everything for half a league
around the city of Cuzco, and by night there were so many fires that it resembled nothing less
than a very clear sky filled with stars".

The attack on Cuzco


Finally, at the beginning of May, the natives attacked Cuzco ferociously.
"The Indians were supporting one another most effectively... they
charged through the streets with the greatest determination and fought
hand-to-hand with the Spaniards". Natives used stones fired from slings
with devastating effect, hurling a "huge stone with enough force to kill a
horse". They also succeeded in setting fire to the many straw roofs of
the town and the fires spread rapidly.

"The Indians were shouting loudly and there was such a dense cloud of
smoke that the men could neither hear nor see one another..." "They set
fire to the whole of Cuzco simultaneously and it all burned in one day...
the smoke was so dense that the Spaniards almost suffocated... they
would never have survived had not one side of the [main] square contained no houses and no
roofs".

The Spaniards were forced to retreat into two buildings on the main square, where they were
kept pinned down by a continuous barrage of stones from the Indian slings. The natives erected
small wicker barricades in the surrounding streets, preventing the horses from making effective
sorties but allowing the Indians to nimbly move about. They also diverted the streams and dug
channels to cause the horses to slip and stumble.

A new weapon of the Indians was demonstrated during the siege: bolas. These consisted of
three stones tied to the ends of lengths of llama tendons. The twirling projectiles entangled
themselves around the legs of the horses and the Spaniards with remarkable effect. The natives
managed to bring down "most of the horses with this device, leaving almost no one to fight.
They also entangled the riders with these cords". Spanish infantrymen had to help the horses
and their riders to safety.

The Spaniards were now in dire straits: cut-off by hundreds of miles from their compatriots in
Lima, hemmed into two buildings on the main square and surrounded by thousands of native
warriors.

20
1536 - The battle for Sacsahuaman
The battle for Sacsahuaman
Fierce skirmishes ensued over the next few days and the Spanish were successful in eventually
recapturing a portion of the city. They also determined to recapture the mighty fortress of
Sacsahuaman, just outside Cuzco, which was serving as a stronghold for many of the Indians.
The Spaniards realised that this would give them an advantage point from which to launch
further attacks against the natives.

Sacsahuaman lies immediately above Cuzco and was


primarily protected by three massive terraced walls, rising
over sixty feet and built in a zig-zag fashion in order to break
up attacking forces. Within the terraced walls were three
huge towers, the largest of which had a rectangular base
sixty-five feet long and rose up five storeys. It could
comfortably house over 5,000 soldiers and was described
by later Spanish historians as having "too many rooms and
towers for one person to visit them all".

A contingent of horseman, lead by Juan Pizarro, fought its way bravely through numerous pits
and traps to reach the outer walls of Sacsahuaman. The natives responded with slingshots and
javelins from the walls of the fortress and the Spanish suffered heavy losses. Juan Pizarro was
mortally wounded during the attack and died the next day in Cuzco. He was buried secretly so
that the Indians would not know and be encouraged for "he was a very brave man and the
Indians were very frightened of him".

The Spaniards continued their attacks on Sacsahuaman. "There was terrible confusion.
Everyone was shouting and they were all entangled together... it looked as though the whole
world was up there grappling in close combat". The Spaniards launched a surprise night attack,
complete with scaling ladders, and were successful in breaching the outer walls. The Indians
retreated to the three towers and defended them bravely for
several days, flinging down boulders and javelins on their
attackers.

Finally "the remainder of the Indians gave way, so that


Hernando Pizarro and all his men were able to enter. They
put all those inside the fortress to the sword - there were
1,500 of them". Many of the Indians flung themselves from
the high walls of the fortress. "Since these were high the
men who fell first died. But some of those who fell later
survived because they landed on top of a great heap of dead men". The native bodies were left
for the vultures and giant condors to prey upon. The coat of arms for the city of Cuzco, awarded
in 1540, shows eight vultures "in memory of the fact that when the castle was taken these birds

21
descended to eat the natives who had died".

A turning point
The recapture of Sacsahuaman marked a turning point in the siege of Cuzco. The Spaniards
now had a base from which to defend the city and launch punitive raids on the Indian armies.
Hernando Pizarro ordered his men to kill any native women that were captured during the
fighting, the idea being to deter the fighting men and deprive them of the valuable support that
their wives provided. On another raid, 200 natives were captured and "the right hands were cut
off all these men... they were then released so that they would go off. This acted as a dreadful
warning to the rest".

The morale of the native forces began to wane. Some of the generals criticised Manco for not
having attacked the Spanish sooner. Others lamented his decision to command from nearby
Calca instead of providing inspirational leadership by personally leading his forces in the
attacks. Furthermore, many of the Indian army were farmers who were anxious to return home
to plant their crops before the rains came. The resulting decrease in native numbers forced
Manco to reduce his attacks on Cuzco and to maintain the siege until further reinforcements
could be found.

1536 - The rebellion continues


The attack on Ollantaytambo
Meanwhile, in Cuzco, Hernando Pizarro determined to
launch an attack on Manco himself. The Inca had
moved his headquarters to the stronghold of
Ollantaytambo, some 30 miles away from Cuzco.
Hernando assembled most of the surviving
conquistadors in Cuzco, some 100 men, 70 horses and
a large contingent of native auxiliaries, and marched
out of Cuzco.

The Spaniards had to fight fiercely to even reach as far


as the main fortress. "When we reached
[Ollantaytambo] we found it so well fortified that it was a
horrifying site". Manco had equipped the fortress with
jungle archers from the nearby Amazon basin. The
Spanish suffered terribly from these archers and from the large quantities of boulders that were
continually hurled down the hillside at them. The natives also diverted the nearby Patacancha
river to flood the plain, soon causing the cavalry to be wallowing in mud up to the horses waists.
The Spaniards retreated rapidly, pursued aggressively by the emboldened natives.

The siege of Cuzco continues


By the end of 1536, the besieged Spanish forces in Cuzco were suffering greatly from the lack
of food. "For the Indians had, with great foresight, set fire to any buildings that contained

22
supplies or stores". The conquistadors were saved by the treachery of some of the native
commanders, who defected to the Spanish side and revealed that nearby "Manco Inca's men
had brought over a thousand head of cattle, maize and other provisions". Hernando sent out a
raiding party of 70 horsemen who returned with over 2,000 llama and many other provisions
besides.

The siege had now reached a stalemate. The Spaniards had enough food to last many months
but did not have enough men to break out of Cuzco and flee to their compatriots in Lima. The
Indians did not have enough men to capture Cuzco and were waiting for the spring of 1537 to
assemble yet further armies.

The Spanish Empire sends reinforcements


Meanwhile, in Lima, Francisco Pizarro had not been slow in asking for
help. He wrote to the governors in Panama and all the Spanish Indies
asking for their help. "The Inca has the city of Cuzco besieged, and for
five months I have heard nothing about the Spaniards in it. The country
is so badly damaged that no native chiefs now serve us, and they have
won many victories against us. It causes me such great sorrow that it
is consuming my entire life".

Reinforcements soon began arriving in numbers from all over the


Indies. Alvarado journeyed from Chachapoyas with 50 men and 30
horses. Further reinforcements arrived from the coast of Ecuador and
the Bay of San Matro. The great Hernán Cortés in Mexico sent "many
weapons, shot, harnesses, trappings". The Governor of Panama, Licenciate Gaspar de
Espinosa, sent men from Panama, Nombre de Dios and the Isthmus. The island of Española
sent six ships containing 400 men and 300 horses. Even the Spanish King responded with
support, sending 50 arquebusiers and 50 crossbowmen.

Manco did not yet realise that his rebellion was ultimately hopeless. He was trying to expel an
occupying force backed by the entire might of the Spanish Empire, a force possessing horses
and far superior weaponry. However, the rebellious Indians were far from finished.

1537 - Flight to Vilcabamba


Competing relief forces
Two separate Spanish relief forces were marching on Cuzco at the
beginning of 1537. Alonso de Alvarado had been sent out from Lima
by Francisco Pizarro and was heading towards Cuzco with over 500
men and 100 horses. He was also supported by many of the local
tribes who still hated the Incas more than they did the Spanish.

Meanwhile, Almagro's forces in Chile had given up their search for

23
treasure and fertile lands, and were marching northwards towards Cuzco. Nobody still knew
whether Cuzco lay within his or Francisco Pizarro's territory but, having failed to find any wealth
in Chile, Almagro was desperate to claim Cuzco as his by right.

Almagro therefore held little sympathy for Hernando and the besieged Spaniards in Cuzco.
Instead, he sent messages to Manco sympathising with "the abuse the Christians have done to
your person, the robbery of your property and house, and the seizure of your beloved wives".
He also offered Manco his support and a pardon if the native forces would join with Almagro's.

Manco was initially receptive towards this show of diplomacy but was ultimately unable to trust
himself to yet another Spanish force. Manco's brother, Paullu, who had journeyed with Almagro
to Chile, may have sabotaged the negotiations, hoping to win himself a position of authority with
the Spanish. After Almagro's forces injured some natives at Calca, Manco was finally provoked
into an attack and drove the Spanish forces back.

Almagro now marched on Cuzco and seized it with relative ease, imprisoning Hernando and
Gonzalo Pizarro. He then turned his attention to Alvarado's nearby relief-force and, after a short
skirmish, succeeded in winning them over to his side. The growing rift between Manco and
Paullu prevented the natives from exploiting this moment of Spanish tension to their advantage.

Manco flees to the Vilcabamba valley


Faced with such large numbers of Spanish
reinforcements, Manco decided to leave Ollantaytambo
and flee to the inaccessible jungles of the Vilcabamba
valley. The retreating natives destroyed the roads and
bridges behind them to slow down the 300 hundred
pursuing conquistadors. The Spaniards pursued the
Inca as far as Vitcos, where the distractions of treasure
and mamconas (holy women) allowed Manco to escape
with a few followers.

Manco was no longer the ruler of a vast native army or rebellion. His army had been captured
by the Spanish at Vitcos and were eventually released to return gratefully to their villages. From
his exile in the jungles of Vilcabamba, Manco implored his brother Paullu to join him. However
Paullu was enjoying success and prestige as the newly appointed puppet-Inca in Cuzco and
"replied that he must always retain his friendship for the Christians, who were so valiant that
they could never fail to be victorious".

1538 - The Spanish fight for Cuzco


Almagro and Francisco Pizarro were soon in negotiations over the fate of Cuzco and the
captured Pizarro brothers. Gonzalo escaped from captivity and Hernando was released during
the course of the negotiations. Both rejoined their brother, Francisco, in Lima and Hernando

24
was soon leading a force of Spaniards back towards Cuzco.

Hernando's forces were ultimately victorious over Almagro's and the city of Cuzco was once
again controlled by the Pizarros. Rodrigo Orgóñez, Almagro's chief commander, was beheaded
and his head exposed in Cuzco for weeks as a warning to other would-be rebels.

Almagro, the 63 year old marshal who had lead the initial conquest of Peru with Francisco
Pizarro and survived the hardships of the Chilean campaigns, was subjected to a trial and
subsequently garroted. There was outrage throughout the Indies and Hernando was forced to
return to Spain to explain his actions personally to the King. He was imprisoned at Medina del
Campo for the next 22 years and never returned to Peru.

1539 - The second rebellion


The second rebellion
In the Vilcabamba valley, Manco Inca had not yet given up trying
to expel the Spanish from Peru. He determined to organise a
second rebellion, a testimony to his resilience and courage.
Manco was able to gain the support of some local native tribes
and the Inca army that had survived Quizo's attack on Lima. Using
these forces, he launched raids on isolated Spanish settlers and
travellers, exacting cruel reprisals on any he captured.

The Spaniards sent out 250 horsemen to search for and capture
the Inca. They tortured Indians until they were able to find the
Inca's location, on a hilltop village called Oncoy, and then
launched a surprise attack. The Indians responded valiantly and
drove off the Spanish, killing 24 of them. A subsequent attack on
nearby Spanish forces proved victorious for Manco and much treasure was recaptured
and taken back to Vilcabamba.

Manco had sent generals to foster rebellions further south and these began to achieve
successes against the Spanish. But reprisals were swift and many native tribes joined
forces with the Spanish to attack the Incas that they hated so much and had served for
so long. The Spanish put entire villages to the sword, including women and children.
They were also supported by Paullu, who had deftly switched allegiance from Almagro
when it became apparent that the Pizarro forces were prevailing.

The Spaniards invade the Vilcabamba valley


Manco now decided to build a new stronghold in
the Vilcabamba valley, a place which the Spanish
would have considerable difficulty in finding and
attacking. Thus began the creation of the city of
Vilcabamba, the mysterious lost city of the Incas,
25
the final capital of the Inca Empire. Numerous archeological sites are today proposed as
the location of Vilcabamba. (See The Ruins section for further details).

Hearing this news, Gonzalo Pizarro led an expedition of 300 men into the Vilcabamba
valley to search for Manco. The Spaniards were forced to abandon their horses at an
early stage and advance on foot, making them ideal targets for boulder-throwing natives
and archers. In one skirmish at Chuquillusca, the natives succeeded in killing 36
Spaniards.

Reinforcements arrived from Cuzco and the Spanish were successful in their advances,
causing Manco to flee once again into the depths of Vilcabamba. At one point he was
forced to swim across a river to escape the attackers, shouting back provocatively from
the other side "I am Manco Inca! I am Manco Inca!"

The end of the second rebellion


Battle by battle, the Spaniards began to regain control over the Inca's second rebellion,
not least because of the support of local tribes. They made particular efforts to capture
Manco Inca and Villac Umu, who they rightly believed to be the cause for native unrest.
"As long as there is a native leader [at large] the Indians' evil fancies can always take
flight". They succeeded in capturing Villac Umu who, after accusing Francisco Pizarro of
unnecessary cruelty in the death of Manco's wife Cura Ocllo, was burnt alive.

This second rebellion was the Inca Empire's last great effort on a national scale to repel
the Spanish invaders. It was conducted with great spirit, skill and bravery but was
ultimately unsuccessful. And yet, Manco Inca had survived and though largely forgotten
by the Spanish during the civil turmoil of the next few years, had not forgotten or
finished with them.

1540 to 1542 - Death of Francisco Pizarro


Rebellion of Diego de Almagro the younger
Many of Almagro's supporters had survived the wrath of the victorious Pizarro brothers in 1538
and had become increasingly frustrated with their circumstances. They had failed to receive any
of Atahualpa's original ransom, they had endured great hardships on the Chilean expedition
with no reward and they were still treated with contempt by Pizarro's forces.

Almagro's son, Diego de Almagro, served as the rallying point for these
disillusioned men. On 26 June 1541, twenty of Almagro's supported
forced their way into Francisco Pizarro's palace in Lima. The 63 year
old Governor equipped himself with a sword and dagger and "placed
himself in a doorway with a halberd and defended himself very well -
so well that they could not enter, as it was a narrow door". One of the

26
attackers was killed but eventually they overpowered Pizarro and "gave the Marquis so many
lance thrusts, stab wounds and sword slashes that he died".

The younger Almagro's forces controlled Lima and the whole of Peru for almost a year. Alonso
de Alvarado, Pizarro's lieutenant governor, rallied a force of loyal Pizarrists and royalists and
finally defeated the younger Almagro in the battle of Chupas, outside the city of Huamanga, on
16 September 1542.

Francisco Pizarro and Diego de Almagro, two of the original founders of the Inca conquest, both
met violent deaths within a few years of each other. This was due mainly to the ambiguously
worded royal decree that gave Francisco Pizarro control over the land for 270 leagues south of
Puna, the original landing point for the conquistadors. No guidance was ever given as to how
this distance was to be measured over the high Andes and the ownership of Cuzco was thus
constantly in dispute.

Atahualpa Inca (?-1533)


"Atahualpa was a man of thirty years of age, of good appearance and
manner, although somewhat thick-set. He had a large face, handsome
and fierce, his eyes reddened with blood. He spoke with much gravity,
as a great ruler. He made very lively arguments: when the Spaniards
understood them they realised that he was a wise man. He was a
cheerful man, although unsubtle. When he spoke to his own people he
was incisive and showed no pleasure". (Francisco de Xerez)

Atahualpa was the second eldest surviving son of Inca Huayna Capac.
At the time of his father's death, Atahualpa was governing the northern
part of the empire. He refused requests from his brother Huascar to
return to Cuzco, rightly fearing treachery, but remained in the north with
his generals Chalcuchima, Quisquis and Rumiñavi. Atahualpa was
ultimately victorious in the civil war that ensued, though he himself was
captured at one point.

Having won the civil war, Atahualpa was left to face the approaching Spaniards and determine
an appropriate response. His council discussed destroying the invaders immediately but
decided it was "folly to be concerned over 170 men" and agreed to have them seized upon their
arrival in Cajamarca. Opinion was divided over whether the Spaniards were viracochas ("gods")
or quitas pumarangra ("leaderless people wandering about and thieving").

Atahualpa was captured by the Spanish and attempted to redeem his life with a vast ransom
payment. He survived for over a year in captivity, honouring his part of the ransom agreement,

27
before the conquistadors found it expedient to accuse him of encouraging rebellion and had him
garroted in the main square of Cajamarca.

Manco Inca (1516-1545)


Manco Inca was the most successful and capable of the Incas who lived during the time of the
Conquest. He had been born a prince whilst his father Huayna Capac was still Inca and was
brought up in the full glory of the Inca Empire. He fought both with and against the Spaniards
but was never dazzled or seduced by their riches, religion or lifestyle.

Manco Inca first met the conquistadors as they marched towards Cuzco
in 1533. Anxious for a puppet-Inca to legitimise their presence and to
govern the administrations of the empire, Francisco Pizarro befriended
the prince and marched with him towards Cuzco. However, as soon as
greater number of Spaniards arrived and the need for a compliant
puppet-Inca decreased, Manco was abused and robbed by the
conquistadors.

Manco was eventually provoked into starting the Great Rebellion, the
Inca Empire's most glorious moment of resistance against the Spanish
invaders. Manco besieged Cuzco for over a year but the arrival of
reinforcements from throughout the Spanish Indies forced him to retreat
to Vilcabamba. He still managed to raise a second rebellion the following year but this was
fiercely and cruelly suppressed by the conquistadors.

Manco survived in his native independent state for over 8 years, building the city of Vilcabamba
and launching punitive raids on Spanish settlers and travellers. Sadly, Manco was eventually
betrayed and murdered by seven Spanish fugitives that he had harbored and protected in
Vilcabamba for a number of years.

Francisco Pizarro (1478-1541)


"Comrades and friends, there lies the part that represents death, hardship, hunger this side
represents comfort. Here you return to Panama to be poor; there, you
may go forward to Peru to be rich. Choose which best becomes you as
good Spaniards!" (Francisco Pizarro to his troops requesting a retreat
to Panama - 1527)

Francisco Pizarro was born in Trujillo de Extremadura, 140 miles

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southwest of Madrid, as the illegitimate son of a distinguished professional officer. Pizarro is
thought to have left Trujillo at the age of nineteen and served in military campaigns in Italy
before sailing for the Indies in 1502. During the next two decades, Pizarro fought in numerous
campaigns against natives and gained a reputation as a tough, experienced soldier.

Pizarro became one of the richer citizens of Panama and, as a middle-aged man, should have
been expected to settle down to a comfortable retirement. But Pizarro chose to risk his life and
riches on explorations for a civilisation rumored to lie far to the south of Panama. His first
expedition in 1524 was decidedly unsuccessful, but his second expedition in 1526 captured an
Inca raft laden with treasure.

Pizarro was illiterate and a poor horseman, inexperienced in the administrative skills required to
run a vast empire. But his command of the conquest was never in question and his troops
respected and obeyed him faithfully. He gained support of the Spanish Crown for his invasion
and was named Governor and Captain-General of Peru. Pizarro never married, though he was
fond of his Inca princesses and the children they bore him. At the time of his murder in 1541 he
was one of the richest men in the Indies, though he never had opportunity to make great use of
his wealth.

Gonzalo Pizarro (?-1548)


"Who told you to talk like that to the King's corregidor? Don't you know what sort of men we
Spaniards are? By the King's life, if you don't shut up I'll catch you and play games with you and
your friends that you'll remember all your lives. I swear if you don't keep quiet I'll slit you open,
alive, and make little pieces of you!" (Gonzalo Pizarro to Villac Umu, when rebuked for stealing
Manco's wife - 1535).

"Look here, I am to be Governor because we would trust no one else, not even my brother
Hernando Pizarro. I do not care a jot for my brother Hernando or my nephews and nieces... I
must die governing! There is nothing more to be said." (Gonzalo Pizarro on his rebellion against
the King - 1545).

"I cannot think of marriage at present: I am wedded to my lances and horses". (Gonzalo Pizarro
- 1545).

Gonzalo Pizarro was far less restrained towards the natives and the Inca than his older brothers
Francisco and Hernando. Gonzalo led the abuse of Manco Inca in 1535, provoking the rebellion
that besieged him in Cuzco for over a year. He developed a passion for Manco's wife, Cura
Ocllo, and stole her from him by force.

Gonzalo was imprisoned when Almagro captured Cuzco but managed to escape and re-join
Francisco Pizarro in Lima. He eventually became Governor of Quito and led an expedition deep

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into the Amazon in 1540 to search for the fabled city of El Dorado. He led the rebellion against
the Spanish crown in 1545, ostensibly against the imposition of the New Laws. Although he
ruled Peru for some years, he was eventually defeated by Pedro de la Gasca in 1548 and
executed.

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